Great outdoor training shoes!
I bought these because I wanted some Vibrams that I could take trail running and hiking, without spending too much on a newer model like the Spyridon. So I bought these in the champagne color (50% off, I'll add, which made it even more awesome), and am really happy with them.
I found these true to size (I'm a 39, and they didn't fit any differently than my other Vibrams). They have a break-in period where the upper loosens up a bit after some runs, and once it does, they're really comfortable, and lightweight. I found the toes a big tighter at first, especially the big one, but I also have wider big toes, so I don't think that will be true for everyone. The mesh is very breathable, so it's great for warm runs, though I did notice that on cooler days, my feet definitely felt cooler, so I wouldnt' take them out in colder weather.
I was a bit worried about whether these would be true to the KSO shoe feel, since they have a simliar KSO upper, but I was pleasantly surprised with them. The original KSO is harder to get over my heel, and the Treksport isn't. They go on easily, and the strap adjusts easily without feeling too tight or too loose, like it does on the KSO. Yet they still kept everything out, and felt lightweight. Very happy with that.
They have great traction for trails and dirt road running, without compromising the feel for the road. I've taken them out on many runs, and can still feel things like rocks as a I step on them, but they don't stab my feet and hurt. The extra rubber on the toes is great for getting extra traction, and I love the feel they give during runs, no matter the lenght.
I did not like these for road runs. I didn't take them out specifically for asphalt running, but when I run around my town, the route I take is mostly dirt roads and trails, but crosses into asphalt and concrete now and then. So I ended up with them on the road for a half mile or so, and I didn't appreciate the extra rubber and traction then, since it seemed to put too much stress on my toes, and subsequently, my arches. Nothing really serious, but it didn't feel as natural or easy running on more man-made surfaces.
These aren't waterproof, so when I took them out on a hike and had to cross a creek, I did end up with water seeping through. When I take them hiking, though, I go barefoot, unlike when I go running and take socks. (I don't know what the difference is, but I just don't like running without socks.) Since I was barefoot, I just took the shoes off when we got to our lunch area, put them in the sun, and they were dry pretty quickly. No issues with rubbing or anything like that, so I was pretty happy with that.
I got the champagne color, which in the photos looks more cream/red, and in reality turns out to be more beige/maroon, which I actually appreciated, since it blends the dirt in well enough to not make it obvious, even on really dusty or muddy runs. They're easy to clean, and didn't stain easily.
Overall, I would definitely recommend these for people who enjoy day hikes or trail runs in decent weather. These shoes hold up really well, and provide excellent ground feedback without compromising for protection.
I've Never Slipped in These Shoes
I've had these shoes for exactly a year and they're amazing! I've taken them everywhere: the Sonoran desert, pine forests, Yosemite, Zion, the redwoods, kayaking, etc. They are my go to hiking shoe. I only wear my Merrels if it's too cold or wet outside to wear these. I'm not the most athletic person and have a tendency to slip and fall on hiking trails, especially on desert trails where fine sand usually gathers on top of smooth rocks. I also have very thin ankles and have a tendency to roll my ankle in traditional hiking shoes. I've never slipped or rolled my ankle in these shoes. Their traction is fantastic even in the slipperiest conditions. I also love the fact that I can still feel the ground below my feet, but not to the point where it's annoying and little pebbles jab you the way they do in thin-soled ones like the Sprints. When hiking, I'm much more surefooted than my companions in traditional hiking shoes and can generally move faster down the trail. These shoes are also wonderfully cool, even when the weather starts to hit the 100 degree mark and above. My feet don't get very sweaty and the thickness of the soles keeps most of the heat from the ground out.
There are a couple of downsides to keep in mind for these shoes (not enough of a problem for me to want anything else!). They are not water resistant. If water touches any of the fabric on the shoes, your feet will get wet. I wouldn't recommend these for rainy/muddy situations. They also don't keep your feet warm. When I was in the redwoods, my feet were chilly. I just bought a pair of Ininji toe socks to wear with them for warmth, so we'll see if that helps. The other downside is that they let in fine sand through the meshy fabric on the top. I found this to be the biggest problem when I was in Zion. Many of the trails are covered in a very fine red rock sand and there are also a couple of sandy beaches by the river. Enough sand got in my shoes that it became uncomfortable. I haven't really had that problem anywhere else though, not even in the Caribbean. The sand of the sonoran desert where I live isn't as fine of a grain, so I usually don't get any more sand in these shoes than I do in any others when I hike here.
I ran around barefoot outside all the time as a child and I still do when I'm around the house or in my yard. These shoes replicate that experience well and I wish that I had them when I was younger!
My husband and I each bought ourselves a pair of these shoes and we both love them but... there are a few problems.
First of all, it's been raining here a lot and these are not good shoes to wear in cold/wet weather. Mittens are warmer than gloves, and guess what (!?!), normal shoes are warmer than these because your toes aren't freezing in their own little pockets. I would recommend carrying them in a large purse or backpack on rainy days. However, if they do get wet they will dry relatively quickly.
Also, the sizing is strange. I wanted the Sprint Multisport in a 38 at first, but went with the TrekSport in a 38 because they fit better. The toes in the Sprints were too tight. Now, the TrekSports are feeling tight across my instep and the velcro strap doesn't go all the way across. Don't buy them if they don't fit well. Fit is way more important in this shoe. It makes me wish they made customs.
Additionally, there is a seem in the big toe that's rubbing against my skin. It'll probably give me a blister if I wear them too long. For now, I've been alternating every couple hours to stretch them out a little and soften the materials. Plus, I may get some moleskin to counteract that little problem.
I wouldn't encourage anyone to go running in them right away, because your feet, toes and ankles will need some adjustment time. I also have circulation problems, so my feet begin to feel numb if I wear them too long due to the tight fit. These aren't normal shoes, so bring a spare pair and take the time to learn about your new shoe experience.
With all of that being said, don't let me dissuade you. I still really like them and will continue to wear them everyday. They are the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn and my back hasn't been hurting as much as it usually does. I'm not saying they're therapeutic, I'm just saying I stand differently when I wear them and I think it's making a difference in my posture. Plus, I get a lot of attention and questions about them when I wear them around town.
Love these shoes!
I've only had these for about 2 1/2m weeks now, and I really like these shoes, I think the idea behind them is fantastic, too.
My hubby bought the brown leather KSO Trek Multisport shoes in march last year, and he loves them and wears them everywhere we go.
I started taking a jogging/cardio strength training yoga and pilates class in January, 2x a week, 4 hours per session, and I was wearing my cross training shoes for it, but my ankles would roll out of place, my knees were killing me, and I couldn't stay balanced at all.
I decided to go ahead and buy a pair of these, I wore them around the house and for walks for about 4-5 days before wearing them to class for the first time, and what a difference!! Everything is SO MUCH BETTER! I love being able to balance with every toe, the way we're made to! It is absolutely amazing.. I went running with my hubby for the first time over the weekend, and it's such an incredible feeling to feel the dirt and grass beneath your feet, to be so aware of what your body is doing, I know I sound a little crazy, but its just great!
Now, after I've just said all that awesome stuff, I'm returning this particular pair tomorrow, in exchange for a different style.
I've been having alot of pain around my 2nd toe, and on just my right foot, (I'm right foot dominant).. I've started bruising on the top of my foot; around the base of my toes. Also around the strap on the top of my foot is black & blue.. I'm one of those people that have a longer 2nd toe than the 1st, and I did not realize it would have such an extreme impact..
I'm really sad, I love them so much, but I need to find a different style (the bikila maybe?) that fits better, I wear the 42's, (10 1/2 to 11 normal women's shoes) So, I may need to just get one of the men's shoes instead, but I'm definitely not getting anything but Vibram from now on!
Run with your feet, not with your shoes
I will echo all the great reviews for this shoe and add some of my experience. I agree there is no real 'break-in' period for the shoe, they are supple from the start. But for higher mileage runners you are best to start out at only a quarter of your normal mileage and work up from there (if you are already a mid to fore-foot striker then there may be a shorter break-in time for you!). If you are a heavy heal striker, this shoe may not be for you unless you plan to work on your form. Also, if you have weak ankles or are transitioning from a high stability shoe, be sure to incorporate ankle stability work/strengthening in or you WILL get ankle pain. I've had mine for about 1.5 yrs now. The only time I don't wear them on the trail is when the temp drops below freezing or there is snow. (then I use the soloman XTcomp). My back, knees and hips love me in these shoes and can always tell the difference in any other shoe. And here is my bias - take it or leave it -these shoes are not well suited for human made surfaces. Doing high mileage on pavement of any type or treadmills in these will open you up to over-use injury due to the lack of surface variety. Our feet are designed to flex and move with the surface underneath them. These shoes excell in this. But artificial surfaces take that away and you are back to running on a 'rigid' surface (similar to a high stability shoe). My solution to this is to use the Fivefingers on trail/grass and, if I am forced to hit the roads, wear a light weight, neutral, lightly cushioned shoe that allows a lot of flex (especially at the forefoot) but does give me some protection. Just listen to your body, if these shoes are right for you, you'll know it! Have fun, and keep on runnin':)
So glad I finally went for it!
All in all, I'd say an absolutely wonderful shoe for the right person under the right circumstances. My gut had been telling me to get a pair for a long time, but I only allowed myself to purchase my FiveFingers on sale and after much contemplation. From what I can tell thus far, they are worth the full price and will become a staple in my shoe rack.
I don't think that I could recommend this product for everyone, because each person has a different foot shape and different recreational preferences. However, here are a few reasons they are the perfect hiking shoe for me:
1) I have extremely flat feet. Arch support is actually uncomfortable in most circumstances. FiveFingers allow my foot to be in its natural preferred alignment - flat.
2) I like having contact with the ground. I feel much steadier than in a shoe with a thick, inflexible sole, which disconnects me from the walking/hiking surface and therefore automatically leads to instability.
3) I'm a casual/recreational hiker. For the moderate, multiple hour hikes that are my regular, these are great. I can't comment on how they would feel on a multi-day trip.
4) I live in the south in warm weather. My foot temperature has been very pleasing. I have not used them in cold weather, but I plan on buying an appropriate pair of socks in the hopes of extending their use to cool temperatures
5) I was a ballet dancer for many years. After so much time in intimate contact, my toes seem extremely pleased to each have their own compartment. Far less irritating than a typical shoe.
6) They feel as close to being barefoot as you can possibly be, without being barefoot.
Very nice indeed, my favorite so far
I had a pair of the original leather KSOs for close to five years and loved them, ran cross country in them, hiked in them. A seam on the top finally opened up and my efforts to repair it failed, and the open seam rubbed my skin raw.
So new shoes. These seem true to size (measured for a 39, which is what I wear in the other vibrams), and they fit great. This model is very easy-on in comparison to some models, just slide them on. They are not water proof at all but dry very quickly- they are excellent for running in the rain in warm weather because you don't even notice your feet are wet as you splash through the puddles, and they dry almost instantly. Good traction. My only complaint is they don't seem terribly durable- I bought two pairs on sale last spring and have been wearing one of them almost daily, and after only about 6 months of use a large hole opened up on the side of the big toe on the right foot. It's still usable but it's only a matter of time until it enlarges too much for the shoe to be wearable.
In general these are my favorite of the Vibrams I've tried out, and I actually now have several "reserve" unused pairs I collected when they went on sale- waiting to be used as the others wear out.
Which is my only gripe with the shoe- it was disappointing how quickly the material developed a hole. I hope it was a unique feature of that one pair and won't happen with the other pairs.
The first time I saw VFF years ago, they were introduced as exclusively climbing shoes, and as I am not a climber, I saw them as slightly gimmicky, but an interesting idea. I do spend about a month each year in southern Utah/northern Arizona running around on slick rock, and it seemed like they might be useful for that, but the oddity of their appearance was just too much for me. I am not an early adopter.
I just bought my first pair after a few friends had raved about their success running in them, and the development of their balance and calf strength. They are shaped almost exactly like my feet and I began wearing them first just around the house, then for walks, and finally ran a few miles on them the other day. My feet feel more taut, and my calves fatigued more quickly when running and walking. I love the way they fit so closely and are so light, and found they did change the way my foot struck the ground.
But my favorite use for them was by far climbing around on slick rock, especially downhill and side-hilling. I had always felt that my foot was too far away from the surface, and these shoes fixed that feeling immediately. I will continue to wear them for hiking, running and walking trails. But it seems to me that there is probably no reason to wear them in every day life, and that many of the benefits afforded by these shoes can be achieved wearing flip flops.
I've been eying these for a few years after being a raft guide and thinking they'd be great as water shoes. But...just couldn't get over the dork factor and the price. My bf finally surprised me with a pair; we ended up both getting them. I've only had them a little over a week, but have been walking around extensively on them, and have even done some hiking. At the end of day 1, we both noticed that our middle toes were tuckered out, but otherwise no problems. After a 2 mile walk on pavement, no problems. After a 3 mile steep up-and-back hike, I noticed my feet were a little sore from stepping on sharp rocks and not paying attention to where my feet were placed. Other than that, no problems. They gripped wonderfully on steep inclines, even with the doggie pulling me downhill. They are wonderfully light, and breathe well, I even felt comfortable running downhill. The most remarkable thing about walking naturally in these: my knee's been bugging me and locking unexpectedly after a bad strain last year, but do not do that when I wear these. They definitely make you pay attention to how you walk/run/hike, and make you listen to your body. After working on my feet all day, I come home excited to put them on to make my feet feel better. Just so it's out there: I ran around barefoot as a kid, and as an adult have super flat wide feet.
Fabulous Workout Shoe!
I purchased these shoes to wear during a home workout program (Insanity with Shaun T by Beachbody). I was having problems with my cross trainers and running shoes popping off my heels during my plank and push up position exercises. I tried these on with the extra traction on them in the store and performed all my trouble exercises without a hitch! They fit beautifully (after tweaking the sizing a bit, definitely get your foot measured with the Vibram foot measure!) I then jogged and sprinted around the store (REI) and was able to immediately feel the support to my foot without over bearing control. I have a GOOD arch on my right and a slightly low arch on the left due to tearing my plantar fascia a few years ago. I was actually wearing my Kinesiotape for my plantar fascia while I tried these shoes on and it worked well with the tape. The model I purchased has a mid-foot strap to tighten the shoe, and I feel like it helped lift the medial arch and support the navicular a bit. I also felt when I jogged that I could have a better footfall landing without the harsh heel strike that often occurs when wearing traditional running shoes. They do take a short while to get used too, but a good kinesiotaping helps! LOL Fabulous shoes, I will be buying additional pairs to wear at work and on the trails.